genetic mutation (escape codes)

genomic variation

"At the gala opening ceremonies of the 2004 Summer Ω∟¥₥₱¡© Games in Athens, Greece, organizers mounted a spectacular tableau of Western cultural history. Merging figures of Greek mythology, the changing aesthetics of Hellenic pottery, and an ascending chain of modern humanity, the Olympic pageant metamorphosed from epoch to epoch, culminating in a cosmic Milky Way lake of lights. In a last transformation (effected by a complex system of wires, projections, and laser lights), the luminous lake rose into the air to form the double helix, a spiraling light show representing, if not the alpha, then the omega of it all. The BBC1 commentators who bantered the pageant play-by-play evinced no surprise at the transition from the horizontal cosmos to the whirling vertical of the molecule. It was as if this finale was already anticipated, evincing the 'of course' of recognition and familiarity, as if an old friend had arisen from its familiar stellar habitat."

(Judith Roof, The Poetics of DNA, p.1)

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skin tectonics, surgery and a question of autonomy

"we don't eavesdrop specifically on you (the freedom), we just abstract models from databases for statistical profiling (the non-freedom) . . ."

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"Thus while we see the antagonism of the labouring body move from the musculo-skeletal to the central nervous system to the micro-memory coding modules of DNA, in the parallel movement to colonize relation we must similarly code the spectrum of in-between located in the trans-subjective. And here is where we locate the one binary that is irreducible, for relation as understood by capital expansion today is distilled via systems analysis and statistical method to the ones and zeroes of the machine. Embodied poiesis is always already compromised by the digital form, while synchronicity exists as the tangential touching that tracks these skins in relation."

(sportsBabel, May 2010)

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variations on the body, appropriate to the task at hand


omega, right-angle, yen, mill, peso, inverted exclamation mark, copyright, dollar sign



(hat tip to ®™ark)


spinal disc herniation, courtesy of wikipedia

i got 99 problems but a twitch ain't one.

physiology and kinetics as politics? sensing body to body politic?

the rupture of a hydraulic system (nucleus pulposus) devastatingly cripples an electricity-based information network (spinal nerve). the amount of force applied need not be excessive — in fact, very little may do the trick — but rather must be strategically levered at a key point of weakness. trauma ensues. structures overreact to compensate and stabilize the trauma, deforming the system in the process. broader relations are compromised and reshaped around this 'choreographic moment'.

herniation as rupture as program of skin tectonics.

perhaps anthropocentric . . . . . . . . perhaps not.

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"finally, it is true of the hydraulic model, for it is certain that the State itself needs a hydraulic science. but it needs it in a very different form, because the State needs to subordinate hydraulic force to conduits, pipes, embankments, which prevent turbulence, which constrain movement to go from one point to another, and space itself to be striated and measured, which makes the fluid depend on the solid, and flows proceed by parallel, laminar layers. the hydraulic model of nomad science and the war machine, on the other hand, consists in being distributed by turbulence across a smooth space, in producing a movement that holds space and simultaneously affects all of its points, instead of being held by space in a local movement from one specified point to another."

(gilles deleuze and félix guattari, a thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia, p.363)

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"there is nothing in knowledge which has not been first in the entire body, whose gestural metamorphoses, mobile postures, very evolution imitate all that surrounds it."

(michel serres, variations on the body, p.70)

Line vs. Surface (vs. Volume) Thought

Wii Tennis

Vilém Flusser, "Line and Surface" (1973):

Let us, then, recapitulate our argument, in order to try to suggest what form the new civilization might take. We have two alternatives before us. First, there is the possibility that imaginal thinking [eg. surface, image, screen] will not succeed in incorporating conceptual thinking [eg. line, text]. This could lead to a general depoliticization, deactivation, and alienation of humankind, to the victory of the consumer society, and to the totalitarianism of the mass media. Such a development would look very much like the present mass culture, but in more exaggerated or gross form. The culture of the elite would disappear for good, thus bringing history to an end in any meaningful sense of that term. The second possibility is that imaginal thinking will succeed in incorporating conceptual thinking. This would lead to new types of communication in which man consciously assumes the structural position. Science would then be no longer merely discursive and conceptual, but would have recourse to imaginal models. Art would no longer work at things ("oeuvres"), but would propose models. Politics would no longer fight for the realization of values, but would elaborate manipulable hierarchies of models of behavior. All this would mean, in short, that a new sense of reality would articulate itself, within the existential climate of a new religiosity.

All this is utopian. But it is not fantastic. Whoever looks at the scene can find everything already there, in the form of lines and surfaces already working. It depends on each one of us which sort of posthistorical future there will be.

On the surface there are two primary and interconnected problems with Flusser's line of thought. The first concerns the materiality of the communications medium. While line and surface, or imaginal and conceptual thought are certainly distinct ways of knowing, the fact remains that they are both still represented in the two-dimensional planar form: text on a page and image on celluloid or screen. In other words, we must distinguish between dimensions of perception and inscription. Text is perceived as a line inscribed on the plane of the book, for example, while image is perceived as a surface inscribed on the plane of the screen.

This distinction becomes even more pronounced and relevant as regards the second problem. Flusser wrote his essay in 1973, just as Atari's Pong was being launched to popular audiences in the United States. Even had he been aware of the game at the time of his writing, it is unlikely that it would have significantly altered his theoretical framework, for Pong was in retrospect a rather humble attempt to bring electronic games to life in video form that faithfully represented in gamespace the ludic enclosure of the tennis court. In most respects, it seemed to be yet another example of proliferating surface thought.


We must recall, however, that the word atari derives from the game Go, and means to advance in attack and capture territory. Soon the simple enclosure on Pong was ruptured as the new videogame medium began to shed its technical constraints and realize its always-latent potential. Static gameplay yielded to scrolling gameplay, most famously in Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. In this quest to save the Princess, Mario captured territory seemingly beyond the boundaries of the television screen to which the console had inscribed its data.

In other words, though partly obscured by its inscription on the two-dimensional plane (as with line and surface) we were witnessing the emergence of a mode of perception in our media quite different from text and image, though it combined elements of both. Its proper name, gesture, is only now becoming apparent as the volume it represents attempts to pull free from the planar screen.

Flusser's lines and surfaces do not refer to a material substrate so much as they consider a mode or technique of viewing what are in both cases two-dimensional substrates, text on the flat page or image on a screen. Given this at the outset, then it seems we ought to consider volumes and volumetric thinking as well, even if they have been flattened to two dimensions with regard to the material substrate of the television screen or arcade console.

The question then becomes: how will somatic or proprioceptive thinking (gesture) fold together with imaginal thinking and conceptual thinking in our understanding of the world? At a surface level, then, what we are actually questioning here is the difference between invention and confinement.

Michel Serres: "What can our bodies do? Almost anything."

re:verb (falling away from us, no.2)

bungee, 1994


Ethics, in Passing

The descent gives us a body seized by letting go, whereas the climb up gives free reign to the common centripetal passions, such as: clinging to handholds, acquiring, drawing by means of nerves and muscles an onject toward oneself and oneself toward an objective, arriving or desiring. Seizing, devouring, consuming. Down-climbing leaves behind. Gesture, then, becomes generous. Starting from clenched hands, the arms open out, you'd think that they give and no longer take, that they abandon the mountain to the given, to that perpetual given men have been capturing, since the history of their schemes began its performance, without tearing the least little bit of wear out of it. An hour of frost erodes the wall more than a thousand caresses by feverish and groping hands. Trust those who let go — the wisest among us — trust those who descend, who leave behind, who can but don't, trust the detached, trust those who give way, trust the poor and those who live apart. Those who ascend, on the contrary, and who stretch out toward the desired seizure neither do, nor think about anything other than what favors their appetite. Culture, civilization, wisdom, beauty, even thought begins with letting go, with the arm gesture that relaxes, centrifugal. Active, enthusiastic, courageous, dynamic, willful — begin nevertheless by desiring strongly. Otherwise, might as well praise passivity, another form of the animal state. Ascending, first, seizing, wanting, sweating, happily taking your fill by the armful; once past the summit, removing, taking off, parting with, divesting yourself, this is the proper course of time.


bungee, 1994


(Michel Serres, Variations on the Body ~ Lake Taupo, NZ, 1994)



"many philosophies refer to sight; few to hearing; fewer still place their trust in the tactile, or olfactory. abstraction divides up the sentient body, eliminates taste, smell and touch, retains only sight and hearing, intuition and understanding. to abstract means to tear the body to pieces rather than merely leave it behind: analysis."

(michel serres, the five senses: a philosophy of mingled bodies, p.26)


"aye, boy, they be playing creckett . . . "

La Paracite

Ithaca poster

Department of Biological Flow

"Let's return to the banquet of men, always interrupted. So who are the gods? The ones whose meals are never interrupted. The immortal is the eternal reveller. Look at Simonides at the banquet: he eats and drinks as he pleases, quite in the position of a parasite. He stuffs himself and gets drunk for his freely given verse; he pays his select table companions and their good food in word. But someone disturbed the dinner. At the door of the room, they heard a noise. Simonides runs off, but no one else follows him. No one of the cohort misses a bite. But the cohort is wrong, for its members are about to die."

– Michel Serres, "Athlete's Meals," The Parasite, p.31